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Self-publlished author’s debut novel deals with PTSD

December 24, 2018
Gina Heron recently self-published her debut novel "What's Left Between Us." The book is the first installation of a series.

FLORENCE, S.C. – After trying to publish her first novel through a publisher, Gina Heron self-published her debut novel “What’s Left Between Us” this December.

Heron, who is a Pamplico native, worked on the novel for five years and two years ago decided to publish the novel traditionally by getting an agent to submit the novel to various publishers. Heron said the novel was picked by a few editors but didn’t make it through editorial boards, which is the final round of selection.

The novel, which is focused on a female protagonist, discusses post-traumatic stress disorder, which made it hard for publishers to find a market for the book, Heron said.

“While this isn’t an issue book, it is a book that for me I tried to address that very honestly and the fact that it is very hard for soldiers who have been in combat situations – especially over extended periods of time and been in several deployments,” Heron said.

Heron and her agent decided to shelve the book after two years of trying to get the book picked up by a publisher, but three days after they decided to shelve the book, on Nov. 5, Heron said a friend of hers from college who struggled with PTSD committed suicide.

“And when a mutual friend of ours shared that with me, I couldn’t get peace about not moving forward with this book,” Heron said.

Heron pulled everything for the book together in three weeks.

Heron already had the fully-drafted novel, and she asked her friend Michael Krajewski to help her design the cover art. The two spent the next two weeks sending ideas back and forth for the image and design.

“It ended up working out, and I was playing with it and he was like stop, ‘I think this is it,’” Heron said. “I said, ‘I think you’re right.’”

Heron had the official release part for “What’s Left Between Us” on Dec. 17 at the Moore Botanical Gardens in Lake City.

Heron said the idea for the novel came from a past relationship she had with someone who was in the military.

“While the capacity he served in wasn’t the same as the capacity in this book, I got really interested in the dynamics of those types of relationships and what those relationships translate to for family and just how people grow and change from the childhood-sweetheart phase into adulthood,” Heron said.

Heron said while developing the book, it changed from the time she began to the end.

“It’s really an exploration for me,” Heron said. “I get to know the story and get to know the characters, and I get to I really think this is how the story is going to go.”

Heron said she tries to find the “me too” of the story when developing her stories.

“What’s Left Between Us” is the first book in a series. Heron already has written the second installment in the series.

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